Bible Ballistics: BBs #285 Our God Is Able!!!
I hope your week is going well, and as we wind up this week, I would just like to share a word of hope for each of us today. We all have difficulties and trials. We all face times of crisis and conflict. We all face times of decision, times when our faith and trust in our Almighty God and His Son Jesus Christ our Lord are put to the test. And in the culture we live in, the world around us is becoming more and more hostile to Biblical truth—the Word of God and the God of the Word. But we must take confidence in the faithfulness of our God and His Word, and we can be encouraged by the testimony of other believers in the Bible. Let’s look at just one this morning.
“Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up? 15 Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well: but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands? 16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. 17 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. 18 But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up. 19 Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: therefore he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was wont to be heated. 20 And he commanded the most mighty men that were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace. 21 Then these men were bound in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. 22 Therefore because the king’s commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flames of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. 23 And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. 24 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonished, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king. 25 He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God. 26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth of the midst of the fire. 27 And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king’s counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them.” Daniel 3:14-27
Most of us are familiar with the story of these three Hebrew young men, who took a stand for righteousness at the risk of their very lives. Of course we don’t always face a “fiery furnace” but we all face times when the “heat” rises against us because we take a stand for God and His Word. So what can we learn from these young men? A lot, I think, about how to walk in integrity before a lost and dying world. We know from the context and previous record in Daniel that these young men were faithful civil servants in the kingdom of Babylon, serving King Nebuchadnezzar. They were faithful men in their relationship and service to their God and reflected godly, respectful character in all they did, but when called on the carpet for their failure to “worship” the golden idol that the king had created, they stood firm and faithful to God—they wouldn’t bow to the “political correctness” of their culture. Yet they behaved with respect and integrity, they weren’t arrogant or disrespectful but simply and truthfully declared their convictions and that they would not bow down before the idol.
When Nebuchadnezzar encountered this response he was so angry that he commanded that the normal punishment already in place for violators, was to be increased to seven times the normal intensity of the furnace. So hot in fact, that the guards who carried them to their death died from the intensity of the heat.
But there’s a lesson we need to learn from this event, which is desperately needed in our day—these men behaved with respect, integrity and courage but never once did they demand a concession for their “difference”. Rather they took their stand with trust in their God, regardless of the consequences. To paraphrase verses 16-18, “Oh King, we mean no disrespect, but our decision is already made, we are so devoted to our God that we cannot, nor will we ever bow before any other ‘god’, not even your amazing golden idol. We know that our God is able to deliver us, but even if He chooses NOT to deliver us at this time, He will ultimately deliver us from your hand, and we will not bow before this idol. We will maintain our devotion to our God regardless of the cost.”
This angered the king and in his rage he sent them to their death, declaring his superiority to their “God”!
“and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?”
And God chose to use this incident to display His power and glory. God chose to answer in a magnificent way as He delivered these men in response to Nebuchadnezzar’s question! Our God can deliver, and He does deliver in His time and in His own times and ways, and He always bring glory to Himself.
But don’t miss the amazing nature of this miraculous deliverance. Not only were these men delivered out of a burning furnace, but also even their enemies who orchestrated this situation, couldn’t argue with what they saw.
“And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king’s counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them”
Not even the smell of smoke was on them! Yet we need to note here that even the experience of this miraculous deliverance didn’t convince their enemies on a permanent basis, read chapter 5 & 6 and see that Daniel still had those who hated him for his faithfulness to God and his civil responsibilities. And my friends, we also will have those who will hate us because we belong to Jesus! But take heart, Jesus told us that it would be this way, and like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego we must place our confidence and our trust in the Lord God Almighty not our circumstances!!! It’s as essential in our lives as it was to them! We can live lives that make an impact on the world—but be prepared, we will face opposition. Take heart and remember that Jesus told us it would be this way—and we are not alone, anymore that these young men were alone in that furnace. Will we live in such a way that others will see God in our lives, especially when we are under fire for our faith and righteous living? God’s own people have always suffered at the hands of the world, and we will until Jesus comes back—and I do believe that’s pretty near!
“Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. 21 But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me.” John 15: 20-21
So take heart—our God is still in charge, and you can trust Him to deliver in His time. Stand fast, walk forward and look up dear ones.
“And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” Luke 21:28
“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. 6 So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.” Hebrews 13:5-6
Take heart dear ones. We do not stand alone.Hebrews 13:5-6
“What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31